County councillor in running to become next Durham City MP

A county councillor who helped organise the return of an historic rally marking 100 years of women’s suffrage is in the running to be Durham City’s next MP.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 6:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:45 pm
Councillor Maura McKeon

Coun Maura McKeon, who has represented Durham County Council’s Coxhoe division since 2017, has made Labour’s four-person shortlist to become the candidate to succeed incumbent Roberta Blackman-Woods.

Blackman-Woods, who has represented the City of Durham Parliamentary constituency since 2005, announced over the summer she would not be standing for re-election.

Coun McKeon confirmed in a tweet posted on over the weekend she had made the final stage of the selection contest

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It has since been confirmed she will face-off against an all-women shortlist which also includes Mary Foy, Angela Hankin and Taiwo Owatemi.

Hankin, one of the City of Durham constituency party’s vice chairs, confirmed her inclusion on the list on her Facebook profile.

Foy, currently a cabinet member at Gateshead Council, also announced her inclusion on social media and tweeted an endorsement from Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union.

Thanks @LenMcCluskey and @unitetheunion for your support.

My trade unionism runs through everything I do, and if I’m fortunate to be selected as the candidate for City of Durham it will inform all of my campaigning and representation.

— Mary K Foy (@marykfoy) October 22, 2019

A final decision on who will be chosen as candidate in the next general election is expected in the coming weeks.

However, the selection process has faced criticism after some activists already working in the constituency party were denied a place on the ‘longlist’ of candidates compiled prior to being whittled down to the final four.

Coun McKeon, who is also the county council’s deputy cabinet member for children’s and young people’s services, is chairwoman of the Durham Women’s Gala group, which brought the historical rally back to the city last year to celebrate a century since women in the UK won the vote.

Blackman-Woods, who retained her seat at the last general election in 2017 with a majority of more than 12,000 votes, has been a backer of the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign for a second referendum on a Brexit deal.